By Jackson Thoreau
Those glowing economic reports are election propaganda
For months, we've been hearing from Bush that the economy is turning
around, that Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy are creating jobs, that the
recession was all the fault of Clinton and then Sept. 11, 2001.
It's campaign 2004 time, time for Bush to act like a moderate.
It's time for Bush to feed us some more horse manure.
It's time for me to upchuck.
On Dec. 5, Bush's Labor Department reported that U.S. non-farm payroll jobs increased by 57,000 in November, falling short of expectations after an 8.2 percent annual growth rate in the third quarter of this year. The job gains under Bush are mostly in lower-paying service jobs - manufacturing jobs fell for the 40th straight month in November.
Let's see, since Bush stole the White House, the U.S. economy has lost close to 3 million jobs. The only increases have come in recent months, suspiciously as Bush cranks up his campaign [Kenneth Lay could be helping to cook the job figures]. At this pace, the U.S. will reach zero job losses by 2008. Add to that the highest budget deficits in U.S. history, the most layoffs in at least 20 years, and a market in which almost 3 million more Americans lost their health insurance just last year. That's quite an economic record to hang your hat on, huh?
So what did Bush say at a fund-raiser in Baltimore, a short drive from my new crib [and I mean crib literally - I have two fun kids tugging on me as I try to write this, age 1 and 3]?
"The American economy is strong, and it is getting stronger," Bush lied at the $1 million fund-raiser for his 2004 re-election campaign. "More jobs are being created."
Whose economy is getting stronger? Maybe the economy of the wealthy elite who funds Bush campaign stops is getting stronger. But mine is sure not. And no one I know feels more economically secure than he or she did under Clinton.
Ask U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), chairman of the Congressional
Black Caucus, what he thinks about Friday's job report, and you'll get
closer to the real story. "The job report also indicates that while
the African-American unemployment rate fell to 10.2 percent, the Hispanic
unemployment rate rose to 7.4 percent. Both of these numbers are again
significantly higher than the national average," Cummings said.
"While it is welcome news that some Americans are finding work, these
new numbers are disappointing when one considers the record growth in the
gross domestic product recently announced by the U.S. Department of
"In addition, when we consider that over 2 million Americans have been unemployed for more than six months, that about 3 million Americans have lost their jobs since January 2001, and close to 9 million Americans will wake up tomorrow morning without a job, now is not the time to celebrate or pat ourselves on the back.
"For those Americans without jobs, the term 'jobless recovery' is
a cruel joke. These troubling long-term unemployment numbers are also a
strong indication as to why the Republicans in Congress should extend
unemployment benefits before we adjourn for the year. These benefits are
set to expire on Dec. 21, and we should not leave Washington without
extending them. We owe it to the American people."
So what does Bush do? He celebrates. He pats himself on the back. He accepts more political bribes from his rich cronies, who get paid back in tax cuts, no-bid contracts, intimidated workers who take less pay and benefits, and similar ways.
What a cruel joke Bush is.
Bush can't even get a clue when the company in which he began his bullshit economic growth campaign in April 2003, the Timken Company, an Ohio-based steel and bearings manufacturer, embarrassed him a few months later by announcing it would cut 900 jobs. The very same company he showcased as an example of his growth plan CUT jobs. Some growth, huh? Then again, that trend fits nicely under Bush.
You want some more numbers from the Labor Department? Look at layoffs, a statistic that is rarely reported these days by the mainstream media. Some 1.6 million more employees were given pink slips in the first ten months of 2003, not far off the 1.7 million in the same period of 2002 and the 1.9 million during the same ten months in 2001, when we saw more layoffs than any year in at least 20 years. About half those laid off did not find jobs before exhausting government unemployment benefits - the highest level ever recorded.
Most companies making these huge layoffs continue to rake in hefty profits. For example, New York-based financial firm Citigroup Inc. announced it would slash 7,800 jobs in November 2001, then went on to record a whopping $14.1 billion in profit in 2001 and another $15.3 billion in 2002. That came on top of making $13.5 billion in 2000 and $9.9 billion in 1999. Why did Citigroup need to cut almost 8,000 employees when it made so much and paid its chief executive, Sanford Weill, an obscene $225 million in 2000?
So what's really going on here? I remain convinced that there was at least a subconscious campaign by executives, who were complaining about not having enough qualified employees throughout much of the 1990s, to reduce job security, wages, and benefits through increased layoffs. In effect, corporate bigwigs got tired of employees leaving for greener pastures and took it on themselves to turn the employees' job market of much of the last decade back into an employers' market.
As you might guess, this layoff conspiracy leads directly to the White House - some Democrats have played a role, but it's mostly Republicans who are siding with the corporate layoff conspirators. Remember what Bush and Cheney did in December 2000 as soon as they had stolen the presidency? Cheney, a former corporate bigwig himself, went on major television programs and talked about how bad the economy was, blaming it on Clinton, when most real economists agreed it was not that bad - yet. Bush, a failed corporate smallwig who could only make money through a questionable stock transaction with Harken Energy and as part owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team by convincing taxpayers to fund most of a new stadium, talked the economy down in his own way in front of crowds of supporters and in one-on-one meetings with reporters. Bush's handlers wouldn't let him go on TV and actually answer a question more complex than "How's your golf game?" Their aim was to blame the impending recession on the Clinton administration, something the lying liars continue to do to this day. That's despite the FACT that the economy was still growing at the end of 2000, though it had slowed from its torrid pace during most of Clinton's years.
Another lie Bush often tells is that he appreciates workers and helps
them get ahead. According to the U.S. House Appropriations Committee,
Bush's 2003 budget proposed a 9 percent, or $476 million, cut to job
training programs and a 2 percent, or $8 million, cut to the Occupational
Safety and Health Administration. Similarly, his 2004 budget proposed a
$60 million cut to adult job training programs and a total elimination of
the Youth Opportunities Grants, which provided job training for younger
The real goal of Bush is to pay back his huge campaign contributors, many of whom were these same corporate executives who complained before about not having enough qualified employees, by aiding the return of an employers' market.
Company executives and their apologists try to tell us they "need" to lay off workers - even when the firm is making boatloads of money - to remain competitive in today's market, despite there being alternatives like reducing employee hours or executives' salaries. That bull just doesn't float. In the increasingly merger-friendly environment, competition for many large megacorporations is not much of an issue.
The main issue for many shareholders is to acquire as much capital and return on investment as possible. That's the bottom line.
For these multimillionaires and billionaires, money is only a way to
keep score, not a basic necessity that could mean the difference between
eating and not eating. And they only feel good when that score goes up,
even if it is at the expense of a person making $20,000 or $30,000 a year.
It really makes me mad that Bush tries to say his tax cuts are helping the economy. It makes little sense if you want to help the economy to give more money to wealthy people who already know how to make their riches grow. They will be fine without tax cuts - when was the last time you saw a homeless wealthy person? If you give them more money, they will most likely hoard it and won't circulate it back into the economy like those at the lower end will. Tax cuts for the lower and middle classes make more sense to spur the economy, if you want to use tax cuts. Tax cuts to the wealthy failed to create jobs under Reagan and Bush Sr., a 12-year period that saw a job loss.
Bush Jr.'s tax cuts for the wealthy resulted in substantial slashes of federal assistance to state and local governments, some of which experienced their biggest budget deficits since World War II under Bush. So state and local officials raised taxes - which disproportionately hit the middle class and lower income people - and cut services, mostly healthcare and social services to the needy.
And this is a stupid economy that is getting better? How stupid does
Bush and Co. think Americans are?
Meanwhile, thanks mostly to the tax cuts for the super rich, the Bush Jr. administration gave us the largest federal budget deficits in U.S. history - $374.2 billion in 2003. And who held that record previously? Bush Sr., who saw a $290.4 billion deficit in 1992. You think that's just coincidence?
Joshua Bolten, head of the federal Office of Management and Budget, predicted that the deficit for 2004 would rise even higher, topping $500 billion.
THIS is a freaking economy that is getting stronger???
Even conservative financial officials know better. "The strong economic growth we're seeing is not accompanied by any respectable employment growth," Anthony Karydakis, senior financial economist at Banc One Capital Markets, told Reuters.
So who the hell is getting this money coming out of this "strong economic growth?" Not me. And I doubt you are.
It's the same ones Bush and his ilk always help benefit - that elite 1 percent at the top of the human food chain.
Bush-Rove-Cheney are taking the same page from the same story they did in 2000. Bush is trying to pose as a moderate to steal another presidential election. He is lying about his record, just as he lied about what he did as Texas governor.
That's why Bush wanted the $400 billion Medicare prescription drugs
bill, which many analysts say will end up costing many seniors more and
being just a big boondoggle for pharmaceutical companies and HMOs, some
more of Bush's friendly bribery partners. Bush doesn't really care about
seniors. He just wants to have something to try to convince them to vote
That's what these lies about the economy are about. It's all about stealing another election.
Excuse me while I upchuck some more....
Jackson Thoreau is an American writer and co-author of We Will Not Get Over It: Restoring a Legitimate White House. The updated, 120,000-word electronic book can be downloaded on his Internet site at http://www.geocities.com/jacksonthor/ebook.html . Citizens for Legitimate Government has the earlier version at http://www.legitgov.org/we_will_not_get_over_it.html . He can be contacted at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org .